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Jack Brady: If you can keep your composure in this division, hold your nerve, that's the key

Sat, Feb 09 2019

Jack Brady Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Safe to say 2018 was a year that had more than its fair share of challenges for Limerick FC goalkeeper Jack Brady. After an initial spell of optimism with Longford Town, the 23-year-old shot-stopper from Ballina in County Tipperary was soon embroiled in a relegation dogfight with Limerick FC. 

Despite being ultimately unsuccessful in the fight to beat the drop, it was another valuable year in the young goalkeeper’s development at the top level of Irish football. 

“It was a very mixed year for me.” Jack told extratime.ie.

“There was plenty of highs and lows. With Longford obviously it was good to win some big games against Shamrock Rovers. That actually came just after the time I graduated from my undergraduate degree so obviously it doesn’t get much better than that. 

“But then there’s a downside. It was a very positive move getting into the Premier Division, that’s my goal, to be a Premier Division player and establish myself there but to get relegated with Limerick was one of my lowest moments. I don’t think I’ve experienced anything as dreary or as grim.”

Despite the negativity which dogged the last few months for the former St Kevin’s Boys youngster, Brady is defiant to right the wrongs of a dismal 2018 for Limerick, starting with a strong pre-season. 

“Pre-Season has been really good so far,” the former Shelbourne goalkeeper said. 

“We haven’t really focused too much on our results this pre-season as we’re looking to find that style of play that suits us at the Markets Field because the pitch is so big. We want to be as creative and as expansive as possible by keeping the ball on the ground and playing a style we all want to play.

“I don’t think Tommy (Barrett) wants to sacrifice playing good football by going down to the First Division. If you can keep your composure in this division and hold your nerve, that’s the key. 

“That’s what we’ve been working on and that’s been our aim of pre-season.” 

In light of the constant negativity around the Markets Field, Blues boss Tommy Barrett has brought in some much-needed experience and personalities around the Garryowen Road venue. 

Brady is convinced that the experience of players such as Shaun Kelly and Robbie Williams will be a massive aid to the club’s ranks. 

“Tommy has brought in some brilliant personalities - Robbie Williams, Jason Hughes and Sean Russell who have been there before. 

“There’s also some really good young players starting to establish themselves like Will Fitzgerald and Karl O’Sullivan who have been involved with the Ireland under-21 set-up. 

“You’ve also big players like Shane Treacy and Shaun Kelly back at the club as well and that experience could be absolutely vital for us. 

“We’ve such a young squad so their experience will be a massive benefit to us as the season goes on. When things go wrong, which they inevitably will, those players will be there to help us through it!” 

When asked about how he sees the First Division playing out in 2019, the former Tipperary minor inter-county player admits he is expecting a battle right to the bitter end this year. 

“I genuinely think the First Division is a battle and it generally just comes down to the day. 

“Sometimes I think form goes out the window and it’s all about who wants it more and who’s going to work harder on the day. 

“We’ve a really hard-working squad ourselves and that’s going to be our biggest asset. We’re going to work hard and try and play football.

“Shels have brought in some serious experience and then there’s Neale Fenn at Longford who will always try and play an expansive style of football. 

“Bray have made some quality signings like Dylan McGlade. 

“Even if you look at the likes of Cabinteely, Athlone and Wexford, they’re a lot more competitive than last year.

“They’ll take points off teams and I don’t it will be about the top four taking points off each other but I think it will be how the top four do against the ‘so-called’ lower teams. 

“That’s where points are lost, and leagues and promotion are won.”

There has been a lot said about the current state of Limerick FC from many quarters, much of which has been unfair. 

Saying that, a return to the First Division offers the Shannonsiders a chance to re-build after much negativity surrounding the club in recent months. 

“I think after everything that has happened at the club, everyone who wants to play for Limerick are here now. 

“They want to be a part of the bigger picture and it is a fan-based club, it’s all about the fans down here. 

“They don’t want to slate you, they don’t want things to go wrong, it’s just when things go wrong it’s very easy to jump on a bandwagon and slate players and management which can be unfair. 

“We want to do as well as we can for the club and that’s the point we’re trying to make and we’re going to go out there and try our best for the club and the fans.

“But it’s a new year and fresh start and hopefully we can bring the people back to the games by winning games and doing our best out on the pitch!”